Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.

Archive for the ‘The Mike LeFevre Quartet’

Priority Changes Name Back To LeFevre Quartet

January 22, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

And just when I’d gotten used to calling them Priority! From a press release at the Singing News:

There is much to be said about the heritage of a name. When thinking of Southern Gospel Music, some of the first family names that come to mind are The Speer Family, The Goodmans, The Nelons and The LeFevres, all legendary in our Industry.
Mike LeFevre, nephew of Eva Mae LeFevre, has been involved in Southern Gospel Music since his days with the legendary Gold City. In 2005, Mike LeFevre, along with five other incredibly talented young men, brought forth a new quartet sound called The LeFevre Quaret. Just one year after forming The LeFevre Quartet, fans voted them the 2006 Horizon Group of the Year at the Singing News Fan Awards. In 2007, they were voted “Breakthrough Artist Of The Year” at the SGN Awards. Their hit song, “Big Mighty God” was nominated for Southern Gospel Song of The Year at the 2009 Dove Awards.
The question has been asked, “So why would a group who has had such an impact on the Gospel Music scene with such wide acceptance change their name?” The answer: With the passing of Eva Mae LeFevre, members of the LeFevre family expressed their desire to retire their legendary name in Gospel Music, so The LeFevre Quartet quietly became Priority.
Since signing with BSA, Beckie Simmons, along with encouragement from their peers, began the process of reconsidering going back to their original family name. Maurice LeFevre addresses the issue with his statement, “I didn’t realize until Mom’s passing last May how quickly new generations forget, as some of my own children came to me and said they had no idea that their grandparents had accomplished so much in life. Mylon and I are absolutely and completely supportive of Mike and his group and the work they are doing for our Lord and Saviour. Our initial reservations concerned quality; however, after hearing the group we could not be more in tune. What a great sound!” Thus, the decision was confirmed to continue the legacy of the LeFevre name. Priority is now being retired and The LeFevre Quartet reborn.
BSA/Beckie Simmons Agency has entered into an exclusive booking agreement with The LeFevre Quartet. Beckie Simmons adds, “We are excited about adding The LeFevre Quartet to the BSA family! The sound of this group is superb plus having a live band represents some of the best in Southern Gospel Music. I am so happy to be part of their future and keeping the LeFevre heritage alive.”
For further information please visit www.bsaworld.com.

Glad to see that the group can have their original name again. More people associate Mike LeFevre with the LeFevre Quartet name rather than the Priority name, which will give the group better recognition.

The Mike LeFevre Quartet Retires Name

June 16, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Eva Mae LeFevre, Priority, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

From the press release on SGN:

Atlanta, GA, June 16, 2009 — In a bold move, the LeFevre Quartet announced their decision to retire the family name with the recent passing of matriarch Eva Mae LeFevre. The group will be known as “Priority”.

A partnership, forged barely four years ago, established a sound and set in motion a number of unprecedented milestones. Within months of forming, fans voted them Horizon Group of the Year at the 2006 Singing News Fan Awards because of what they heard and saw in them. The following year came Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award. Next came television appearances on Dr. Charles Stanley’s popular In Touch program, a 2009 Dove Award nomination and recordings along the way that simply raised the bar for an entire genre.

This move comes in response to a request by some LeFevre family members to discontinue the name when Eva Mae was no longer able to travel. In a statement, Priority (Stacy Bragg, Gus Gaches, Mike LeFevre, and David Staton) said:

“We were able to honor a name that had such an influence on gospel music in America. On nearly every recording we’ve done, we re-recorded a classic LeFevre tune as a sort of tribute.”

Recognizing that now is the time for them to impact this generation of gospel music fans and the twenty-first century church, the group hopes to solidly establish their identity as “Priority”. The name is a reflection of who they are, what they’re about, why they do what they do, where they’re headed, and how they’ve gotten this far.

“Life is about relationships and priorities. God has blessed so much, and certainly not because we’ve done anything to deserve or earn His favor. So we want our relationships to take priority—with Him, our families, our churches, and each other.”

There are no personnel changes and no changes in musical style, just a new name. The group will still travel with a live band consisting of Jordan LeFevre and Trey Ivey. Audiences will continue to hear the trademark harmony and talented musicians.

In light of the recent passing of Eva Mae LeFevre, this is a very classy move. It honors the memory of one of Southern Gospel Music’s finest ladies, while still allowing the group to establish their own identity.

The group has already shown us they are capable of awesome things, producing one of 2008’s best projects with Nothin’ But Good. I am certainly looking forward to hearing more from Priority.

CD Review: The Mike LeFevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good

September 26, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

Rating: 4.5 stars

Label: Canaan Records
Producer: Jason Webb
Website: www.mikelefevrequartet.com

1. Let Me Tell You ‘Bout Jesus – The album opens up with a throwback to the original LeFevres. The guys reach back in the vault and take this old Alphus LeFevre song from back in their days as the Alphus LeFevre Singers and update it, making it sound like it belongs in modern SG. Great track, and a great tribute to Mike LeFevre’s heritage.

2. Didn’t It Rain – The guys do another old song, this time an old spiritual from 1938 by the Golden Gate Quartet. This is not the Dove Brothers’ “Didn’t It Rain,” rather, it’s another song entirely. The group updates this song as well, and they do a great job pulling off this type of song.

3. Take My Life – The first slow song of the album opens with a string orchestra, then segues into light piano accompaniment. Mike LeFevre’s smooth baritone sings the first verse, then the chorus comes in. After lead singer David Staton’s second verse feature, the song builds to a great finish. This powerful track would do very well as a radio single.

4. Glorious – A Praise & Worship song is generally not well-recieved by the average SG fan, but it’s another style that this group can pull off with great effect. Their previous material has included this type of song (“Days Of Elijah” from their debut release, as well as their entire Total Praise album), and it’s a sound that really fits the vocalists that make up this quartet. One of my personal favorites of the project.

5. Big Mighty God – The group’s current radio single employs a modern country sound. Great harmony is distributed throughout the song, making it a great inclusion to the project.

6. Last One Worthy – Another slow song, this one has the country feel as well, and it is bass singer Stacy Bragg’s only feature of the album. Bragg’s voice is very well-made for a solo feature, and I like this track better the more that I hear it.

7. You Thought Of Us – David Staton is featured once again on another slow, powerful song. This song has been the subject of some discussion lately over at Burke’s Brainwork, because there is some distortion on the chorus. I can’t put it any better than Wes did here:

“On the chorus to “You Thought Of Us”, there is some major distortion going on. I heard it on my car stereo, and also on my headphones here at work…. It almost sounds like the music is overdriving the speakers, like the CD was produced with the input levels turned up way too high. I also hear the distortion on the songs “Take My Life” and “Didn’t It Rain”, but it isn’t quite as bad as what “You Thought Of Us” is distorted….”

While I didn’t hear the distortion on the other two tracks mentioned, I do agree that it shows up here. Very obviously. Which is a shame; this song is great, with powerful lyrics and great accompaniment, but the distortion lessens the power just a bit.

8. Nothin’ But Good – The title track once again leans toward a modern country flavor. This kind of reminds me of something right off of a recent Dove Brothers project.

9. It’s Time To Sing – One of my favorites on this project, this collaboration from the pens of tenor Gus Gaches and lead David Staton has some TIGHT harmony. Bragg produces some rocking low bass throughout most of the song, and the piano break is none too shabby either!

10. You’re Never Too Far Away – Tenor Gus Gaches gets his only feature of the project this time around. Gaches has a voice that is crafted to deliver a beautiful slow tune like this one, and he doesn’t disappoint on this track.

11. Jesus Saves – The project closes with yet another great ballad. The quartet sings in unison throughout the first part of the song, and then a choir backs them up as they break into parts for a great finish. Smart move to include the choir, as it only adds to the great finale that the song provides to close the album.

Final Thoughts: By far, one of my favorite projects of 2008. The Mike LeFevre Quartet has really hit their stride with this release. I’ve heard bits and pieces of their first two projects, but was not really impressed. And when I read the announcement that the group had been picked up by Canaan Records, I hoped that the execs knew what they were doing.

As it turns out, the move is the best thing that could have happened to them. Producer Jason Webb does a great job bringing out the strengths of each vocalist and producing a blend that the other groups out there dream of having. The lineup of tenor Gus Gaches, lead David Staton, baritone Mike LeFevre, and bass Stacy Bragg have super-tight harmony throughout the project, and do a great job of mixing both the old and the new in their material.

Let me stop here to say that I have talked to alot of people that are not fans of Stacy Bragg, saying he does not blend well with the group at all and is the weak link of the group. I implore these people to listen to this project. Like I said, Webb played on the strengths of every vocalist, including Bragg, erasing any skepticism I had of him. Bragg blends great with the other guys, does a great job on his solo, and provides a solid bass foundation for the arrangements. I’m of the opinion after listening to this project that he is one of the most underrated basses in SG today, having improved leaps and bounds since I last heard him on the other two projects.

My only real complaint is the distortion I heard on that one track. That is the only thing holding me back from giving this project a 5-star rating. Distortion killed the sound of “You Thought Of Us,” and I hope the group can avoid letting that creep in to their future releases.

If The Mike LeFevre Quartet continues in the vein of this project, there’s big things in store for them. I urge you to buy this project for yourself.

Next Review: Soul’d Out Quartet – Ain’t Nobody

I’m Back! And Upcoming Reviews

September 14, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Mark Trammell Trio, NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet, The Mike LeFevre Quartet, Tribute Quartet

Just got back yesterday from this year’s NQC, and it was a blast! I could never adequately give a rundown of all the events, but be sure to check out Averyfineline.com, Daniel Mount’s blog, and David Bruce Murray’s blog for some reports.

Also, I took advantage of some great deals, so be looking for these upcoming reviews (in order):
1. Greater Vision – Not Alone
2. Mark Trammell Trio – Always Have A Song
3. Mike LeFevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good
4. Soul’d Out Quartet – Ain’t Nobody
5. Legacy Five – God’s Been Good
6. Brian Free & Assurance – Timeless Hymns & Classics Volume II

And, since Tribute Quartet won 2008 Horizon Group Of The Year, I’ll be reviewing both of their projects as well.

NQC And Upcoming Reviews

September 09, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Mark Trammell Trio, NQC, SG Artists, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

Well, this will be the last you hear from me till probably Monday. I’m heading out tomorrow to go to NQC, and I’m planning on picking up several new (some brand-new, some that have come out recently) projects to review. Be looking for such reviews as:

Mark Trammell Trio’s new CD
Greater Vision – Never Alone
Legacy Five – God’s Been Good
Mike LeFevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good
Brian Free & Assurance – Timeless Hymns & Classics Volume II

Hope to meet some of you at NQC, and I’ll see you all when I get back!

LeFevre Quartet At Work On First Canaan Release

March 13, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

The press release can be found here.

Now, I do have a couple beefs with the release. For example:

“…Mike (LeFevre), David (Staton), Stacy (Bragg) and Gus (Gaches) are fairly new to the Southern Gospel circuit…”

(Members listed are baritone, lead, bass, and tenor, respectively.)

Huh? Any SG fan knows that LeFevre has been around the block a couple of times, and I’m pretty sure Staton is no stranger, either. The group itself is fairly new, yes, but I wouldn’t lump all of the members into that category, especially the founding member and namesake of the group.

Another statement made in error:

“Canaan Records and Word Entertainment will release The LeFevre Quartet’s debut album July 1, 2008 worldwide.”

It is their debut release with the record label, but not their debut release as in their first release ever. They have released “Legacy” and “Total Praise” prior to signing with Canaan, the latter being a more CCM/P&W album. I gotta wonder if this upcoming release will, indeed, be marketed as their debut anyway.

The error I mentioned before makes even less sense once you get to the second-to-last paragraph in the press release. It talks about LeFevre’s history with Gold City, him taking time off, and coming back to SG. A real change of tune from “being fairly new to Southern Gospel Music”, if you ask me.

Be looking for a new single sometime in May.

LeFevre Quartet Signs With Canaan Records

February 11, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

According to this SoGospelNews post, Canaan Records has added the Mike LeFevre Quartet to their roster.

Not sure which label they were on before (or if they were even on one), but I think this move will give these guys the recognition they deserve. Aside from their last release, Total Praise (an album I didn’t like because it was all standard CCM arrangements, besides I Bless Your Name, which is an awesome song), they have some good albums under their belt already. Can’t wait to see and hear their future efforts.